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  • Meerelle Cruz

Facebook Previews the Next Stages of Digital Connection at Its Connect 2021 Conference

With a corporate name change, Facebook is expressing its developing focus on the expanding metaverse notion, which it believes will enable individuals, and Facebook (or 'Meta'), evolve their interaction processes in nearly every aspect. Which could have a big impact on how we work and play - and today, Facebook previewed a few of those next-level features at its annual Connect AR/VR conference, including new AR tools, advanced VR options, and other, longer-term hardware projects that are set to become central to the new Facebook model, including new AR tools, advanced VR options, and other, longer-term hardware projects that are set to become central to the new Facebook model.

Here are some of the most important announcements.

Horizon Home

Even while it has been said that no single corporation would own the metaverse (we all know Facebook will try anyway), Facebook's first move toward owning it will be to construct the necessary connecting layer that will unite people within the digital reality. Horizon Home is Facebook's main push in this area, with the new platform incorporated into the Oculus VR experience's basis. You'll be able to invite your friends to Horizon Home soon, where you'll be able to hang out, watch videos, and play games and apps together.

Users will be able to send messages, make a video or audio conversation, and schedule meet-ups for collaborative experiences in the digital domain, as shown in the video. This will soon be supplemented by services such as 'Venues,' which will allow users to 'experience the energy of live events from the comfort of their own home,' including NBA games and other sports within the space. This is a critical component of Facebook's developing metaverse campaign, and while it may not be the most glamorous or interesting of its recent announcements, nothing else works without it.

New Games

Another important announcement is the development of a virtual reality version of the Rockstar Games classic 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,' giving millions of GTA fans around the world an even more immersive experience. While VR gear sales have been increasing and more developers are jumping on board, no huge, compelling VR titles have been able to make it into a larger, mainstream consideration. The technology is one thing, and it has its fascination for specialized gamers, but the true drive for VR is to bring in the public and get people talking about their VR experiences on a larger scale.

GTA in VR will almost surely do that, and while it will take some time to develop – Facebook has yet to reveal any screenshots or examples – it might be the thing that propels VR adoption to new heights. To put things in perspective, GTA games have sold over 350 million copies globally, with the most current GTA title selling 150 million copies on its own. This is a sizable fan base that will be ecstatic to get their hands on this next-level experience.

VR for business

Facebook is also working on new virtual reality technologies to help people work from home more effectively, in line with the WFH trend. Facebook has announced that it will begin testing its new 'Quest for Business' platform, which will allow users to log in to their Quest VR headsets with a Work Account and facilitate collaborative work environments, giving you the feeling of being in the same physical space as colleagues while working remotely.

With the ability to "transport your work from your monitor to Quest 2 and back again," this could be even more useful than real desks and locations. More collaborative work choices will be available as a result of these linkages, which could change remote working methods while also increasing productivity and engagement.

AR Development

Facebook also announced new training programs for budding digital creators and better spatial comprehension in AR, which will enable new types of display and engagement. On the training front, Facebook launched a new 'Polar' AR creation software, which will allow users with no prior knowledge in painting, design, or programming to create AR experiences.

Facebook will also introduce a new certification procedure within its Spark AR platform, as well as new AR creation courses on Coursera and edX. Finally, Facebook is establishing a new $150 million effort aimed at "training the next generation of producers who are creating immersive instructional content."

This type of element is critical in AR innovation since it broadens the pool of creativity outside Facebook's development teams, allowing for a much greater range of AR engagement and interaction choices throughout the company's apps.

World and People AR

Facebook is also working on sophisticated augmented reality capabilities, such as body tracking for more immersive AR features and 'World AR' geo-anchored experiences. Snap already has versions of both, while Facebook is still catching up. However, each will be an important element of the company's growing AR glasses experience, with digital overlays displayed via the frames, allowing for a variety of new utility and entertainment possibilities.

On the other hand, Facebook is collaborating with BMW to develop augmented reality capabilities that will eventually assist drivers in navigating their surroundings. In the next months, the competition for AR supremacy will heat up, and Facebook will be a crucial player. It'll be intriguing to watch where it can take its AR glasses as it moves beyond the initial Ray-Ban Stories concept.

The Next Level

Real-time 3D reconstructions of humans, which provide accurate renderings of themselves in a digital world, are among Facebook's more advanced AR and VR initiatives, as is its ongoing work on wristbands that can detect nerve impulses and utilize them as a trigger for digital response. All of these will play a role in the next stage of digital connectivity, and while it may seem like a long way off, these current developments are making progress and will arrive sooner than you think.

The next stage of digital connection will occur in the virtual realm, and as seen by the growing popularity of NFTs and other digital-only initiatives, interest in that stage is growing. When you examine how much time young people are spending in virtual worlds like Fortnite, Roblox, and others throughout the pandemic, and how it will affect their interacting behaviors, it's easy to understand how the next stage will emerge within the present capacity. That will eventually change everything, and for marketers, it will open up a slew of new opportunities to learn, adapt, and improve your strategy.

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